Thursday, 11 December 2008

If at first you don't succeed . . .

"There was once a man who had an idea that India rubber could be made useful. People laughed at him, but for eleven years he struggled with hardships to make his dream come true. He pawned his clothing and the family jewels to buy food for his children. His neighbors called him insane. But still he insisted that India rubber coudl be made of practical use. The man was Charles Goodyear. Dreams do come true -- if you make them."
~Katheryn C Mertz

I was a bit blue yesterday afternoon. Yes, it happens to even me sometimes. I had received yet again another rejection letter from yet another card company. They keep saying the same thing . . . that while my drawings are nice, they don't fit with the image that they are using at the present. It is a little bit dis-heartening. I know my work is good, and I know that people like it. I have sold quite a few cards this month and the lady that owns the village post office fell in love with them and wants me to bring some in for her to sell after Christmas. She would have had some in right there and then, but she had already gotten in all of her Christmas line. So, I know it's not that people are not intrigued or taken with my work.

I have thought long and hard about it. I have prayed about it. I have looked at all the other images on the card publisher pages that have rejected me, and nothing they have is any more spectacular than my work. In fact some of it is just plain hum drum. I thought about changing what I paint to more fit in with what they have . . . and then I thought . . . NO! I am not going to compromise what I do and run with the pack. If I did that, I would be taking the very heart out of my paintings . . . I would be taking away the essence of them that is me. I will not do that. I will persevere. I know that somewhere there is somebody with vision enough to see that what I do has worth and feeling and I will keep trying. I'm not sure who said it, but there is an old saying that goes, "If at first you don't succeed . . . try . . . try again! I'll just keep trying and having faith that if it's meant to be . . . one day it will be!!! Even Beatrix Potter and Mary Englebreit got rejected.

On the plus side, I sent my work to Simon Elvin yesterday afternoon and got an e-mail back within a short time saying that they were sending it on to another person in their company, which, whilst not an outright yes, means that the first person I sent it to at least thought it was worth sending to a second person. They also said that if I don't hear anything within two weeks, that means it didn't suit their image, or was not good enough. So we shall see! Onwards and upwards!

One thing that brought me a lot of joy yesterday was that I received some awards. A week ago Schotzy of Wings of Eagles saw fit to give me the Proximity award, as did Tracy of Pink Pearl. Tracy also added a lovely friends award.

That these two lovely ladies would think so much of me to honor me in such a way really made my day and I am so grateful for the love and friendship of all my blogging friends. They really do mean the world to me, and I appreciate them oh so very much. Of course as with any awards there comes a responsibility to pass them on, and rules and such . . . (I stole this next bit from Tracy, I hope she doesn't mind!)

*These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these kind writers. When you pass the award along please include these guidelines. I am to choose eight friends to share this with.*

So without further adieu I would like to pass these pretties on to the following people:

1. Miranda of A Duck In Her Pond . Miranda knows only too well the sting of rejection. She is a wonderful writer and weaver of magical spells through the written word. She writes magical stories with her words and I just cannot understand why she has not yet been published. Me thinks there are far too many people in positions of authority with no vision . . . this girl is far too talented to sit on the sidelines for much longer. Go and give her a visit and you will see what I mean!

2. Gloria of Canela Kitchen . Gloria is a wonderful lady from South America and so sweet to everyone. She has more heart than just about anyone I know and I am so proud to call her my friend. She leaves the sweetest comments and I just adore her. Plus she is a great cooker!

3. Lura of Grammy's News . Lura is a sweet blogging friend who is so loving and kind. Visiting her page is just like visiting with a long, much loved friend. I look forward to each and every post. She doesn't post near often enough I know, but then she does have a busy family life and I just love reading about it. She's awesome! (At least that's what my kids would call her!)

4. Susan of Comfort Suite . Susan is a lady that I know not only from her blog, but also from She is a wonderful gal who has been so loving and supportive to her husband Charles, who recently was blessed with having been given a kidney transplant, something we had all been praying would happen for such a long time. We were all thrilled that they finally came up with a donor! She has a lovely page and it's just what the title says . . . filled with comfort.

5. Holly of My Kids Say I'm Silly . This gal is so filled with the spirit of joy and I just love to visit her page and catch up with all the doings of her family. She has such lovely little daughters and a husband who seems like a real prince charming. I know his mom and if he is even half as wonderful as she is, then he's a real catch!

6. Erin of The McGibbon Family and the new Patrick and Erin's Adoption Blog . This is one of Lura's daughters and she is just the sweetest person I know. She has so much heart and soul. This little gal took it upon herself in 2004 to go to Ghana to teach at a deaf school, and upon her return founded a non-profit organization that now facilitates 10-15 volunteers that go to Ghana every Jun-Jul to teach at the deaf schools. She, herself has been to Ghana some six times, and always at her own expense. How can you not love someone who has given so selflessly to others. I just adore her.

7. Lucy of Teen Baker . It was months ago that I had such a lovely sweet e-mail from Lucy telling me how much she enjoyed my blog, and how I had inspired her to cook. That e-mail really touched my heart. It is really amazing to find a young girl like Lucy today who loves to cook and write about it and who is not afraid to let people know that she cares. I fell in love with her right then and there. She's a wonderful young lady.

8. Angie of Can You All Hear Me At The Back . What a wonderful gal Angie is. She writes from the heart and soul. I adore reading her words and I have enjoyed many a telephone conversation with her as well where we have enjoyed setting the world to rights!!! Angie writes exactly as she speaks, and that is from the heart.

So there you have it . . . eight wonderful ladies that I am proud to call my friend and who I feel are more than worthy of these awards. There are ever so many more of you that I could have written about, but for today I shall leave it at these.

I'm ever so sorry if you have popped on here today from Craving Elly in My Belly, and are looking for a Ratatouille tart! You're not going to find one. This weeks challenge was the Cornmeal-Crusted Roasted Ratatouille Tart, on pages 98-99 as Hosted by The Wiivers, and I'm afraid that I just didn't get to it. December is always such a busy month for me at work that I just haven't had a lot of cooking time at home, so I do apologize. So far this week, Todd and I have had egg and chips, beans on toast and frozen fish and oven chips! Not exactly a blogging menu!! Do pop on over to the elly page though to check out some of the tarts for this week though!

I will share with you my delicious recipe for Christmas Fudge though. Every year I give a small gift along with my card to the people I work with up at the big house and I thought this would be perfect! Be warned though . . . tis really, really good.

*White Chocolate and Cranberry Fudge*
Makes one 8 inch square pan

This fudge is quite different than the usual chocolate or brown sugar fudges. It’s creamy and delicious and very festive looking! There are quite a few different versions around but this one is my favourite. It works every time.

2 TBS butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk (Carnation, not the condensed sweetened)
1 ½ cups caster sugar
¼ tsp salt
4 ounces marshmallows (white ones)
9 ounces white chocolate, cut into little pieces
½ cup chopped toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts or pistachios)
1 cup chopped dried cranberries
1 tsp pure vanilla essence

Butter an 8 inch square pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving about a 1 inch overhang all around for ease in removing it from the pan. Set aside.

Put the butter, sugar, salt. evaporated milk and marshmallows into a medium sized sauce pan and place it over medium heat. Stir constantly until all is melted and combined together and the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. (Keep it over medium heat so as not to burn the ingredients)

Once it is boiling, start timing. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not stop stirring.
Remove from the heat and add the chopped white chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is completely melted and amalgamated into the mixture. Stir in the vanilla essence, nuts and the cranberries. Pour into the prepared pan and let cool completely.

Remove from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Cut into small squares with a sharp knife. Store in a tightly covered container.

*Variations - Try using chopped milk chocolate, walnuts and raisins instead. Add some rum flavouring instead of the vanilla. You can use peanut butter chips, or butterscotch chips also along with the walnuts and vanilla, but I would leave the cranberries out in that case and just increase the amount of nuts.

PS - I have to work quite late tonight so if you don't see me first thing tommorrow morning, don't panic! I am in bed sleeping! You'll probably hear from me later in the day!


  1. Oh my goodness....they say great minds think alike....We may not have great minds but we surely do think alike!!!! I just posted awards too....This very minute. I just popped over to your blog to tell you that I finally passed on the last award you gave me... and have a new one for you.

    Now I find I have another lovely award from you(and I thought I was caught up in passing them on..ha ha) Thank you dear. I am honored.

    I am sorry that you got another rejection letter. I just can not understand it. They must be blind!!! However don't give up. Like you I believe that you will find a company that will appreciate your talents and insight. I wish that I was a card publisher. I would love your line.

    Have a good day. Thanks again about the sweet things you say about me and Erin. We both love you. XOXXOX

  2. I love the cards! Keep the chin up, good things will come your way I'm certain of it - you have some real talent.

    The fudge sounds and looks awesome too!


  4. Good luck and don't give up!!!

  5. Marie, those card companies just don't have good sense. Your work is beautiful, don't change it a bit! Have you tried Little and Brown here in America? They are a smaller company, but it might be worth a try. My son would love that fudge, I am not all that fond of white chocolate. Much love, Raquel XO

  6. So very glad to be able to share these awards with you, Marie! Your friendship has been one of the greatest of my life, and I feel so blessed you are my friend. :o) Glad the awards cheered you up...Rejection is so hard. When I was writing for publication, it was endless rejection letter, it was so disheartening. But changing one's style to suit others is never a good idea, even in the short run. Don't ever compromise on your own artistic vision and integrity. Always remain true to yourself and sing your heart's song. A problem with big companies is that they are flooded with artists work, the competition is fierce. A smaller corporation might be something. But you never know what can happen. And in the meantime, your local area is helping get your art out there...Tiny steps make great bounds! :o) Chin up...we cheer you on! And in the meantime a nibble of fudge might help--LOL! This white chocolate cranberry fudge is just up my street...mmmm...LOVE YOU HEAPS!! ((HUGS))

  7. First at all!!! I MISSS YOU A LOT!!! you know Im so busy with my cousins of England, they are sooo lovely, they are ERic and Jean, they areally nice but I have to do the meals, go with them to shopp the childs are finishing the school (please pray by Espe) etc.etc. but really miss dont come here!! Im so proud to be your friend too!!!!I really love my friend Marie!!! and Lura and love Erin too, she is so ncie!!!
    Dear thanks by the Award, really nice and sweet words you about me, I hope to mail to soon. Thanks dear Marie, I was so blue too, I want peace to pary more I need it!!
    Yesterday I was the church was so nice!!I let you because I have to think in the lunch. I think my cousin Eric (hubby of Jean) is how Todd, so nice and washing the dishes!!!!! really nice, she is so nice too!! We talk a lot!!! Huggsssss Gloria

  8. The fudge is amazing, I hope to make to Christmas!!! Gloria

  9. Heyyy come on!! You kno yours cards are REALLY beautiful!! I love them the companies are a s......Gloria

  10. Marie I have no doubt that someone will see the beauty in your drawing that comes start from your heart and snatch them up! I love them just the way they are, don't change anything! I'm bookmarking this fudge, I NEED to make this, it looks incredible!

  11. Marie, You already know how much I LOVE your artwork, oh how I wish it was in stores here in the US, keep is said that converts to the Church heard about the gospel at least 7 times before they became interested, don't give up. I want to make your fudge but what is "caster" sugar? Is it something different from just regular sugar?

  12. It is Thurs. morning now. Just wanted you to know that I am thinking of you this morn....but then...I am always thinking of you.

    Don't forget to drop by and pick up your award. I know that your sidebar is full of them but hey....there is always room for a little more love.... and you surely have a lot of people who love you.

    I have a busy church day today. I have day time relief society this morning. It is held once a month and I should have gone every month since I retired. However, I always forget to go...but this time they called and reminded me last night...good thing because I had forgotten again. I will get home just in time to leave for the temple. Our temple matron is having us come early for a Christmas open house at their home before we start our temple assignments. As you can tell it will be a lovely day. I hope that you will have a lovely day as well. If I am not too tired I will stop back by late tonight when we get home and say good morning to you. Love ya lots, Lura

  13. Dear Marie,
    I just got your comment. You must have been writing to me while I was writing to you... what did I say about great minds????.... well anyway....

    I am sorry that you are a bit down and have such a hard night ahead of you. I will put your name in the temple today and have you in my personal prayers as well. So, while you are working all night there will be prayers in your behalf to help give you strength.

    Much love, Lura

  14. Oh Marie, thanks so much for the lovely award! I do appreciate it! I'm so glad you're not letting the companies get you down. It's honestly not you. It's just folks being blind to anything but numbers! You're so sweet to think of me. The moronic post office messed up your package, so I have to redo it. I'm shipping it out tommorow! I do love you!

  15. Hi Marie, My goodness, what an honor to get such a sweet award from you! You always have such kind things to say. I appreciate you so much!

    Also, thank you for posting our adoption blog address. The more exposure the better. Did you know that 2/3 of all adoptions are private, meaning that it was arranged by family/friends who knew of someone that needed to find a loving home for a sweet baby? So thank you for helping us spread the word!

    AND, lastly... here is my two-bits of advice regarding "not succeeding at first"... it will only make the success so much more sweet when, not if, but when it happens. And it will!!

    Lots of love, smiles and hugs to you!!

  16. Marie:

    I've finally tracked you down. What a lovely blog. I wanted to let you know that I came across your shop on Etsy and I love your work! I've been so busy lately dealing with my mom and her medical issues, I haven't had much time to keep up with my art and blogging.

    You keep up the good work. And like you said, don't compromise your quality to run with the pack.

    Garden Painter Art

  17. thanks for the award marie! you are so nice to think of me:) i love your blog too! its so fun to read each day. you are a special lady that i hope to someday meet!

  18. No dont change your style to become,,,, erm comercial ,what you have is indeed unique ,hey that fudge looks good Jan xx

  19. This fudge looks so good! I will definitely have to make it!

  20. I was looking for ratatouille pie for sure, but what I found instead was a wonderful read by a blogger friend who was having a bad week. I'm so sorry, but at least you got that award! And you are so deserving. Truly, someone will notice your work soon and value your creativeness! Have faith.
    Your fudge looks great!!

  21. Marie -- I am sorry you are feeling a bit down. Your work is beautiful. I left you a message on your etsy shop. I went over there to see if I could buy some of your cards. I would love to frame some and hang them in my office so I can look at them every day while I work.

    Let me know if it is possible, ok?

  22. Wow thankyou so much for your lovely words about me!I am honoured and it has really made my day. Those card companies are crazy - dont give up! Oooh what lovely looking fudge too!! xxx

  23. That fudge looks great! White chocolate, cranberries and pistachios is one of my favorite flavour combos right now.


Your comments mean the world to me, and while I may not be able to address each one individually, each one is important to me and each one counts. Thanks so much!